EC approves measures for deployment of fast and ultra-fast broadband

The European Commission (EC) has today adopted three documents aimed at facilitating the deployment and take-up of fast and ultra-fast broadband services in the European Union (EU). With these documents, the EC hopes to fulfil the commitments made as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe, that is to provide all European citizens with basic broadband access by 2013 and ultra-fast broadband access by 2020.

The package of measures adopted by the EC comprises:

  • A Commission Recommendation on regulated access to Next Generation Access Networks, establishing a common regulatory approach to next generation, high-speed fibre networks, sets out a common regulatory approach for access to new high-speed fibre networks that requires national telecoms regulators to ensure an appropriate balance between the needs to encourage investment and to safeguard competition. This will provide increased regulatory clarity to all market players, which is necessary to stimulate investment in fast and ultra-fast broadband;

  • A Commission proposal for a Decision by the European Parliament and Council to establish a 5 year policy programme to promote efficient radio spectrum management and, in particular, ensuring that sufficient spectrum is made available by 2013 for wireless broadband (which will significantly contribute to bringing fast broadband connections to people in remote areas and to make innovative services available across Europe); and

  • A Broadband Communication that sets out a coherent framework for meeting the Digital Agenda's broadband targets and, in particular, outlines how best to encourage public and private investment in fast and ultra-fast broadband networks. It calls on EU Member States to introduce operational broadband plans for high and ultra high speed networks with concrete implementing measures, it provides guidance on how to cut investment costs and indicates how public authorities may support broadband investment, including making better use EU funds. It also announces plans by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to bring forward broadband finance instrument.

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